UPDATE 2-Panera cuts 2013 view after restaurant sales miss target

Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:33pm EDT

(Adds CEO comment, industry background, updates share move)

July 23 (Reuters) - Panera Bread Co reported quarterly profit that missed analysts' views and cut its full-year forecast after sales growth at company-owned bakery-cafes fell short of expectations, sending shares tumbling more than 5 percent in after-hours trade.

Panera is one of the restaurant industry's top-performing names and when it delivers results that miss or just match Wall Street's targets, investors punish its stock.

The popular salad and sandwich chain now has the enviable problem of figuring out how to serve customers more quickly during busy meal times. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks Corp are grappling with similar issues.

In order to operate consistently at the "very high sales volumes" generated by Panera's shops, "we must improve our peak hour throughput," co-Chief Executive Ron Shaich said in a statement on Tuesday.

Panera's second-quarter sales at company-owned restaurants open at least 18 months were up 3.8 percent, less than analysts' estimates for a 4.5 percent rise, according to Consensus Metrix.

The St. Louis-based company also said those restaurant sales were up about 2.1 percent for the first 27 days of the current quarter.

Based on those trends, Panera lowered its 2013 earnings per shares forecast to a range of $6.75 to $6.85. That implies year-over-year earnings growth of 15 to 16 percent, versus its prior forecast for growth of 17 to 19 percent.

Net income grew almost 16 percent to $51 million, or $1.74 per share, in the second quarter that ended June 25 - missing analysts' average forecast by 3 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Panera were down 5.3 percent at $172.40 in extended trading on Tuesday. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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